Apostle Paul was not perfect


The Apostle Paul was truly a man of God. He is a great example of man committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, this does not mean he is not fallible. The inspired words he wrote are infallible because they are Word of God, but as a person he was fallible. This is a reminder to each of us to be careful that we do not put too much trust in a man or in ourselves. We are all subject to error.

I want to explore a passage of Scripture regarding Apostle Paul. It is Acts 23:1-5

Acts 23:1-5 (NASB)
1 And Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, "Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day."
2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth.
3 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! And do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?"
4 But the bystanders said, "Do you revile God’s high priest?"
5 And Paul said, "I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘you shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’"

1 And Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, "Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day."

‘I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day’ should be the goal of every believer. Maybe for some they can say that they have lived obedient lives before God and have lived with a clear conscience. But we need to be careful and ‘take heed lest we fall’. In 1 Cor 4:2-4, Paul says the following:

1 Corinthians 4:2-4 (KJV)
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

What Paul is saying is that we cannot depend upon our judgment of ourselves, must rely upon the Lord’s judgment of our lives.

Paul should have taken heed of his own words. After saying he has a clear conscience, he does the following:

2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth.
3 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! And do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?"
4 But the bystanders said, "Do you revile God’s high priest?"
5 And Paul said, "I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘you shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’"

Paul acknowledges that what he said to the high priest was against what the scriptures teach. This means he was wrong in saying it.  It also seems to me that Paul responded in retaliation to the treatment he received from Ananias. After acknowledging this he states he did not know that Ananias was the high priest. I have a hard time believing that Paul did not know that Ananias was the high priest-it seems to be he is lying.

Paul may have had a good conscience, but his behavior in this instance was inappropriate. Maybe in vs1 Paul was saying that my conscience is clear in being obedient to serve the Lord. Being obedient to serve the Lord does not justify the behavior of Paul, This means that Paul was just like you and me-he at times sinned. Even as an Apostle he could walk in error. We should also understand that a clear conscience is not enough to keep us from sinning.

It should be recognized that even though Paul sinned, it did not mean he was not the sent one by God. And we all can agree that Apostle Paul was not in err regarding sound doctrine. The Lord blessed Paul even if he had sinned.
Acts 23:11
11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, "Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also."

Key Points
1. Be careful in thinking too highly of yourself or your walk with the Lord.
2. Be careful of thinking too highly of those who are leaders in the Body of Christ-do not put them on a pedestal to the point that you think they are infallible.

Caution
Just because a person is gifted-anointed, does not mean they are not subject to error. Just because they are right most of the time does not mean they are right all the time. Too many Christians are following men and movements instead of Jesus. If Apostle Paul had a time when he was flawed in character how much more individuals who are nowhere close to bing sold out for Jesus?

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